How soon the Christmas carols that were being piped over speakers and intercoms everywhere are silenced. At the gym yesterday, there was no music. Just the sounds of people doing what they do in the weight room, on the track, in the locker room. I noticed the silence. This is odd because, as my kids will tell you, I never notice what’s playing on the radio when we are out somewhere.
But with the songs of Christmas this is different. I don’t exactly “notice.” As in, wow I love this song. It’s more that I begin singing or humming along. So that even when there is no music, like in the produce section at the grocery, I am humming Hark the Herald Angels Sing. If I catch myself doing this, I just smile and continue. No one stops me. This behavior is okay, until after Christmas, when the music stops.
Then, all of a sudden I stop singing. This is not a conscious decision. It’s more of a visceral thing. Just like the singing in the first place. It was organic. Not planned. Just bubbled up from somewhere inside that recognized the music, knew the words and had permission to sing them.
So this morning when I read this, “In Mary, God became flesh”* it struck me. Not just, “Mary was with child.” Or “He was born on Christmas day.” Not even, “He became flesh and lived among us.” But actually, God in Jesus began and grew inside of Mary. In Mary’s womb, God became flesh.
Somehow I had missed this before. God didn’t place Jesus the baby full grown into Mary. He grew Him there. Just as He grows our children in us. Just as He grows ideas in us. He plants them, knits them, shapes them and then, calls on us to birth them.
The incarnation of Jesus wasn’t just a “I am gonna be one of you and come and walk among you event,” God used the incubator of a person. The young girl Mary. Nine months carrying God’s child, God Himself, God taking shape in her so that He could be in the world. Our world.
I wonder if Mary felt a sense of loss when Jesus was born. As a mother, I can’t imagine she did. A mother is so anxious to see what has been growing inside her and to share him with the rest of his family. She is so fulfilled to be able to hold him and care for him. But I wonder…
What would it be like to truly believe that, “In Wendy, God became flesh”?
I’m not sure I can really “know” this; it’s more visceral, more organic, just sort of bubbles up from somewhere inside that recognizes Him as if He has always been there and yet is new again each time I greet Him. And there is singing.
*(from Becoming Light, by Thomas Hoffman)